Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Rhetoric and Technical Communication (PhD)

College, School or Department Name

Department of Humanities


Jennifer D Slack


In the twenty-first century, the issue of privacy--particularly the privacy of individuals with regard to their personal information and effects--has become highly contested terrain, producing a crisis that affects both national and global social formations. This crisis, or problematic, characterizes a particular historical conjuncture I term the namespace. Using cultural studies and the theory of articulation, I map the emergent ways that the namespace articulates economic, juridical, political, cultural, and technological forces, materials, practices and protocols. The cohesive articulation of the namespace requires that privacy be reframed in ways that make its diminution seem natural and inevitable. In the popular media, privacy is often depicted as the price we pay as citizens and consumers for security and convenience, respectively. This discursive ideological shift supports and underwrites the interests of state and corporate actors who leverage the ubiquitous network of digitally connected devices to engender a new regime of informational surveillance, or dataveillance. The widespread practice of dataveillance represents a strengthening of the hegemonic relations between these actors--each shares an interest in promoting an emerging surveillance society, a burgeoning security politics, and a growing information economy--that further empowers them to capture and store the personal information of citizens/consumers. In characterizing these shifts and the resulting crisis, I also identify points of articulation vulnerable to rearticulation and suggest strategies for transforming the namespace in ways that might empower stronger protections for privacy and related civil rights.

Included in

Communication Commons